The Stagecraft of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Essay

The Stagecraft of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Essay

Length: 1186 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview



The Stagecraft of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead  

 

“…a poor player,
that struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
and then is heard no more…”



This quote from Macbeth is a perfect summary of the plot of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. The dramatisation of the lives of these two unremarkable and virtually extraneous characters from Hamlet is an unlikely foundation for “one of the most…engaging of post-war plays” (Daily Telegraph). However, as with Samuel Beckett’s absurdist play “Waiting for Godot” the originality of Stoppard’s concept is not enough in itself to create a masterpiece and it is the brilliance of the stagecraft and writing that establishes this play as a classic.

The presentation of these two characters is an important feature of the stagecraft. Neither Rosencrantz nor Guildenstern ever leave the stage during the play until their deaths. They are the central focus which directly contrasts with their relative unimportance in Hamlet. The visual effect of their being dressed in Elizabethan clothing is cleverly juxtaposed with their contemporary style of speech. It is comic that their identities seem to be interchangeable; Guildenstern himself investigates this point in Act II,
Guil: Rosencrantz…
Ros: (absently) What?
Pause, short.
Guil: Guildenstern…
Ros: (irritated by the repetition) What?
Guil: Don’t you discriminate at all?
While the other characters such as Gertrude and Hamlet seem to be unsure who takes which name, the fact that they themselves are similarly confused augments this humorous idea.

How they act and what they do are both important factors in establishing their personalities and Stoppard includes comprehensive stage directions in the script.
In Act II there a...


... middle of paper ...


...ey are merely actors.

At one point in Act I, Rosencrantz stands at the edge of the stage looking at the audience and remarks that the idea of being a spectator could only be made bearable by the “irrational belief that somebody interesting will come on in a minute”. In Hamlet Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dull characters. Whatever wit they may possess pales beside Hamlet’s intelligence, they are unable to adequately spy for Claudius and their contribution to the plot is two extra corpses and a few laughs at their expense. However in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Tom Stoppard has managed to make these characters interesting. The addition of the more three-dimensional character of the Player, several inventive uses of staging and the imaginative links with Hamlet itself establishes an original masterpiece of a play around two minor Shakespearean characters.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead Essay

- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, a tragic comedy authored by 20th century playwright Tom Stoppard, tracks the exploits of two minor characters of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The action of the play circles in and out of the plot of Hamlet, and the fate of the two friends, death, is already decided in the Shakespeare’s previous work. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, on a mission to send Hamlet, the prince of Denmark, to the King of England to be killed, struggle with this realization as the play progresses....   [tags: Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead]

Strong Essays
1067 words (3 pages)

Essay on Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead

- During the time of Shakespeare, the line was clearly drawn in drama between comedy and tragedy: not that he didn 't occasionally mix the elements or write a play which defied either category. However, modern plays and movies do not adhere to obvious tragedies or comedies any longer. In an existentialist play by Tom Stoppard, the fundamental questions of Hamlet are explored in a comedic yet tragic drama, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, both following and breaking many fundamental structures in drama, as well as constantly toying with the dramatic fourth wall....   [tags: Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead]

Strong Essays
1025 words (2.9 pages)

The Comedy of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Essay

- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, a play in three acts by Tom Stoppard, is a behind the scenes look at what happens in Shakespeare's Hamlet and how the events in the play may have seemed to other fringe characters. These characters are of very little relevance and even if they are removed from the scene of action, with the grotesque act of hanging by death, the impact on the actual play is minimal The play defies easy definition and various critics have labeled it variously as absurdist, existentialist, comical, burlesque, metaphorical or grim....   [tags: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppar]

Free Essays
444 words (1.3 pages)

The Complexity of Life and Death in "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead"

- The main theme of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead is the complexity of life, death, and the events that lead to it. It also depicts the theory of determinism vs. free will. These are very similar to the themes seen in Hamlet. There is a complementary structure between Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead and Hamlet in the sense that, they are written in different time periods and show different understanding on the subject at hand. In 1602, the time when Hamlet was written, people believed in church and that dead would go to heaven or hell based on their deeds , but Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead was written in 1960’s a time of existentialism, when existence of god and essence...   [tags: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead, ]

Strong Essays
662 words (1.9 pages)

Free Essays - The Fools of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

- At first glance, one might believe that the only things Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead has in common with William Shakespeare's Hamlet are Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and the segments of Hamlet Stoppard pasted in his play. Looking more closely, however, one would observe that the most extreme absurdities of Stoppard's play are derived from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Particulars of Stoppard's play that might at first be considered simply ridiculous improbabilities (such as the fact that they cannot remember their own names, and the acceptance which with they view their own deaths) later surface as mockery of disturbing details in Hamlet....   [tags: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Essays]

Free Essays
398 words (1.1 pages)

Essay on The Significance of the Coin Flips in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

- The Significance of the Coin Flips in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern   At the beginning of the play "Rosencrantz and Guildensten," one of the two characters found a gold coin during their journey through the desert.  He immediately began to flip the coin to see what side it would land on.  By the seventh flip, two tails turned up.  Every flip after was heads.  The characters fliped the coin over 157 times, and they each after the seventh flip turned up heads.  The significance of the coin flips in this play was not ever specified within the storyline.  However, with a closer look, one can recognize the significanceit had in the plot.  The coin flips warned, foreshadowed and carried of a me...   [tags: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Essays]

Strong Essays
605 words (1.7 pages)

William Shakespeare 's Hamlet And Rosencrantz Essay example

- The Entanglement The interconnectedness of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Tom Stoppard’s play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead extends the identities of the characters. While Hamlet gives a limited view of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the opposite is true for Stoppard’s play. Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead contain similar themes, and Stoppard’s play presents a new perspective to the one-sided story. The common themes of fate and chance, and uncertainty and meaninglessness are compared between the two plays....   [tags: Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead]

Strong Essays
1071 words (3.1 pages)

Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead Analysis Essay

- Stoppard’s play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, is a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet through the eyes of two minor characters. In Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two minor characters who are tasked with spying on Hamlet. Ultimately, they are killed when they arrive in England. Stoppard retells the story of Hamlet from the viewpoints of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Stoppard transfers not only the plot points, but several common themes and motifs from Hamlet to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Prince Hamlet]

Strong Essays
1057 words (3 pages)

Essay about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead versus Hamlet

- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, written in the 1960s by playwright Tom Stoppard, is a transforation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Stoppard effectively relocates Shakespeare’s play to the 1960s by reassessing and revaluating the themes and characters of Hamlet and considering core values and attitudes of the 1960s- a time significantly different to that of Shakespeare. He relies on the audience’s already established knowledge of Hamlet and transforms a revenge tragedy into an Absurd drama, which shifts the focus from royalty to common man....   [tags: Tom Stoppard]

Strong Essays
1098 words (3.1 pages)

Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Essay

- Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, a humorous piece of self-reflexive theater that draws upon Shakespeare's Hamlet as the source of the story. The actual device of self-reflexive theater is used so well in Stoppard's play that it reads like the love child of a play and a compelling critical essay. The play is academic yet conversationally phrased and it deepens our understanding of the original play but also criticizes it....   [tags: Play Theater]

Strong Essays
1468 words (4.2 pages)